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Stockholm Trip Report

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Aug 12th, 2014, 09:11 PM
  #1
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Stockholm Trip Report

Just returned from four full days in Stockholm plus partial days arriving and departing. Here is a brief report.

We stayed in an apartment in Soldermalm arranged through Air Bnb. It was pretty close to the photography museum. Location was great. Easy walk to Gamla Stan and on from there to other destinations. However we are active and in good health, don’t mind walking, etc.

Gamla Stan is very touristy. It has that classic medieval town feel to it. It actually reminded me of some places in Italy, even down to the colorful paint on the buildings. The color palette was more broad in Sweden.

We saw the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace which was interesting. We happened to hit the timing right. I don’t think I would make a special effort to make it. We also visited the Mint museum nearby, Royal Palace, Armory, and Crown Jewels. On a later visit we hit the Tre Kronor. We enjoyed them all. We also walked over to the City Hall which is an impressive building. We did not tour inside.

The following day we went to Djurgarden to visit the Vasa Museum. It’s tremendous. Like seeing the David or the Grand Canyon, you have to see it in person to believe it. We skipped Skansen. We did go to Prince Eugens House which was very nice, quiet, and has an interesting art collection. We had an excellent dinner at Ulla Winblad on Djurgarden, near the Vasa Museum.

We took a day trip to the island of Sandhamm. That was quite fun. The boat ride was about two hours each way. The archipelago is scenic. So the ride was not dull. And the light was different each way. We rented bikes on Sandhamm which made getting around quick and easy. We had a nice lunch, enjoyed looking at boats in the marina and just hanging around.

The following day we visited the Tre Kronor mentioned above, Historiska Swedish History Museum and the Army Museum. All were good.

Our last part day we visited the photography museum. Surprisingly we caught the Salgado exhibit which we had already seen in Paris in November. I think they were showing more pieces in Sweden because they had more space, but I could be wrong. They had two other, smaller exhibits. It was good. We also wandered around Soldermalm a little bit and had a great lunch near one of the subway stations. I would have liked to spend more time in Soldermalm to explore, but that’s not how things worked out.

General observations: Food is good but expensive. Drinking is very expensive.

The train to/from the airport is very good. It is faster than a car or taxi and cheaper. Due to logistical concerns I took a taxi from the airport to the apartment in Stockholm. Researching this we heard that there are better and worse taxi services. Given the overall level of orderliness I found in Stockholm I was kind of surprised that this would be a notorious problem. We went with Taxi Stockholm, and they were very good.

Stockholm was very easy to navigate as an English speaker since it seems pretty much everyone is very fluent in English. Also the city is neat, clean and orderly. I did not feel concerns about personal safety, street crime, etc. That is not to say I was careless, but it did not seem like much of a problem compared to other large cities.

Overall it’s a beautiful European city. There is a lot of history. There are a surprising number of museums given the size of the city and country. We enjoyed our stay. I would like to come back to Sweden and spend some time hiking in the outdoors. Hopefully sooner than later.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Nice report piles! DH & I are planning to go next spring. DD is currently there and is loving the city!
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Aug 13th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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I like your wandering/hanging around segments. The best part of a trip IMO.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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We were there same weekend as you!

Love the city and Sweden taught me how to relax.

Just a large country with so few people, is great combination.

I would make one very definite point about the cost of living. Sweden is in EU and logically the prices will NOT be hugely different than other EU cities. I found them not to be, other than wine in all restaurants which by the bottle was very expensive.

We found a large difference between prices in Stockholm and the surrounding areas. Supermarket chains like Willys and COOP offer very good quality produce at prices which are definitely lower than the UK. The clever thin is that
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Aug 13th, 2014, 09:44 AM
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The clever thing is that it isn't possible to but alcohol stronger than 3% in supermarkets, you have to visit alcohol specific shops. As a result we simply drank less, which is no bad thing.

Piles of paper.

I have to disagree about the Vasa. It was a very impressive sight in terms of scale but stomach turning in its design. I sail and my idea of design is Sparkman and Stephens beautiful J class sloops. The Vasa just looked odd in its dimensions, it was pretty obvious to me that the ship would never sail!!!

The only one thing I found off-putting about Stockholm was the fact that it, like many other cities, had sold out to the cruise ships. I simply can't abide 3,000 people wandering around a city, en masse, all with tags round their necks and following someone holding an umbrella. There was lots of this behaviour on show in Stockholm.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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Dickie_Gr, can you name this boat?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

It really caught my eye in Sandhamm and wonder what it is.

I looked up the Sparkman & Stephens boats you mentioned. They look very nice.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:44 PM
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Dickie_G makes the observation that Stockholm has "sold out" to the cruise ships. If "selling out" is the right phrase, then they are in the same company as every other major Baltic city.
I have been to Venice several times and always disliked the hordes of cruisers trekking through Piazza San Marco keeping up with the proverbial umbrella. Perhaps it was a bit of elitism on my part?

This past summer the shoe was on the other foot, as we were on a cruise ship through the Baltics and we "hordes" descended on cities big (Stockholm) and small (Tallinn).

I must say that while in Stockholm, we found Gamla Stan to be as crowded as the Piazzas of Venice. My impression, however, was that it is always crowded whether a ship is in port or not.
Stockholm, being so big and diverse did not strike me as a city that needed the big cruise ships to float their economy. It appeared that the many local ferries from Helsinki kept the merchants happy.

In all seriousness, but for cruise ships, many travelers would find it either impossible or geographically challenging to see these beautiful Baltic countries.
It is true that to really see a city one needs more than a few hours. Would I have preferred to have seen these countries without being on a cruise? The answer is yes, but cruise ships do provide an opportunity to experience parts of the world that otherwise would be missed by so many.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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I forgot to add that since we did not go on any organized tours, outside of St. Petersburg, I never noticed large groups being led around with dog tags hanging from their necks.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 08:19 PM
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I guess they call it the Baltic Cruise because you sail on the Baltic Sea.
But the only Baltic country you visit is Estonia.

I agree with giro, the only way many people can get a taste of several countries is via a cruise.

I usually do my homework very well when I visit places and then also hire a private tour guide...but not everyone is able to do this.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 02:26 AM
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People that go on holiday during July and August are going in peak season, when the world and his wife are on holiday. That's why Gamla Stan and other places are crowded. Cruises have always been popular. Stockholm doesn't need to "sell-out" to anything. It's popular because it is beautiful and the weather has been outstanding this year.
Not being able to buy alcohol in supermarkets just drives Swedes to buy it from Systembolaget, a state controlled store which is the only place you can buy it, or take booze cruises to Denmark to stock up.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 03:04 AM
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Thanks for posting!
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Aug 14th, 2014, 06:06 AM
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What one forgets while eating in Stockholm restaurants, or at least I did, is there is no sales tax or tips added on.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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Piles

I saw the boat too!

I think it is local probably by Knud Reimers, many were exported to the US.

I have theories of makes a yacht beautiful. I think even the untrained eye takes in design and decides that much of what is on offer is completely a made for speed rather than practicality.

Many of the most beautiful 60ft yachts have less space down below than a modern fibreglass 30ft yacht.

The one in your photograph is incredibly beautiful but very impractical!

Cruise ships : Each to their own but 6 cities in 6 nights, ticking off museums and following tour guides round isn't my idea of cultural immersion.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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At further risk of looking like an idiot we were initially disappointed with the Vasa as we expected/assumed visitors could board the ship. We wanted to imagine being the sailors as they heard the Swedish equivalent of WTF 100 feet from port.
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Aug 15th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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Dear Dickie, yes, I am far from a naval architect and my sailing experience is rather limited. But I have been out a few times recently with friends on San Francisco Bay and I am thinking about taking the classes to learn more and rent boats. So great to be out on the water.

I really like the archipelago and returning for a sailing trip would be fun.

Have you a boat currently?
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Aug 15th, 2014, 09:29 PM
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Dear Cold, we were more organized this trip to satisfy my wife's interest in having things more nailed down. I prefer a more loose itinerary. So we did not do quite so much wandering.

Regarding the Vasa, they did have the recreated gun deck with enough headroom for children. I complain because I am tall. But that is how they built it. Would really be something to walk the actual deck, but I suppose that is a perk reserved for those who work at the museum.
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Aug 17th, 2014, 09:59 AM
  #17
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Thanks for the report! We'll be there next week (but shhhhh, it's part of a cruise.....)
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Aug 17th, 2014, 11:05 AM
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Piles

Classes are a very good idea, use a school registered with the ASA. Chartering is also a very good idea, sailing is a very diverse pastime.

I sometimes think being on the water is little different to being on the road; you can jog, cycle, motorcycle, car, NASCAR, Formula 1 and so on. Simply choose how you want to spend time on the water and gain experience at that level, it sounds obvious but some skills are transferable, many are not.

I have always sailed 40ft plus yachts, I have in the past done some dinghy sailing and it was awful (I was awful) the response times are very short although the principles are the same.

We have owned yachts in the past but sold as it was on average costing 5 times more per visit to own than it was to charter. If you own a house with a deepwater dock at the bottom of the garden then owning is wonderful. If logistics are any more complex them you will use the boat less and believe me everything is expensive.

The boat industry is appalling at hiking prices of even simple parts. Our starter motor failed and the marina tried to charge me £400 for a new one, £200 to fit. We were new to sailing and nearly went ahead. The chap with a berth next door told me to buy a motorbike starter motor, which was identical and fit it myself. In all the cost was £80.

In terms of destinations, the world is very kind. There are many destinations out there which are similar to sailing in a swimming pool. There are places out there where you should probably become religious and prey before setting out.

When you gain some experience, research the forgiving destinations and talk to the charter company.

There are two camps in sailing. The honest camp and the shiny buttons camp.

The shiny button camp never make a mistake in their eyes, belittle everyone, talk very loudly in the yacht club and don't take their boat out much.

The honest camp make mistakes, ask for help, ask for advice, keep smiling, accept their will be problems, take their time and learn from mistakes. They also have no interest in what the shiny button camp think of them.

I have met some incredibly friendly and helpful people on the water, I have also met some of the most objectionable people on the planet out there.

Stockholm is a great destination after your courses and say an other charter. The tidal ranges are very small, the waters protected, lots of marinas and settled weather summer. Great fun.

Just ask if you would like any further help!
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Aug 19th, 2014, 10:09 PM
  #19
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Dear Dickie, thanks for your insights.
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